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Access Denied at the County Jail

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Link

Hero of Hyrule
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 14, '13 6:32pm PST 
This is a follow up of my thread "Which law applies to County jails?"

Well even though I called again yesterday to confirm everything was in place to bring Link with me to the county jail with my friends to visit our friend (and was told that it was fine), I was denied access today. The officers I talked to refused to listen when I told them I called the DOJ's ADA number and was assured they covered visiting at a county jail under Title II. They even had a sign in their window that said they adhered to the ADA, and then right next to it a sign that said only guide dogs were allowed. I'm including the notes I took immediately after the denial as I sat in the car unable to see my friend. I will be calling the DOJ and the county human resources tomorrow, and other advice or information is very much appreciated. For those that do not know, in addition to other MIs, I have severe PTSD specifically involving police officers, lawyers and court situations.


Whitman County Jail Access Denial

I was standing with my friends in the waiting room to go visit our friend. An officer entered the room, and after they had talked to another person, they approached me and informed me that my trained service dog would not be allowed in the visiting area. I informed him this is my service dog required because of a disability and I could not be separated from him. I asked if he was familiar with ADA Title II, which all local and state governments are subject to. He replied he was not, so I asked to speak to a higher up and also gave him two informational service dog brochures, one of which had specific ADA Title II information.

As i was talking to the first officer, symptoms of my disability were triggered. I began to shake, sweat, stutter, my vision blurred, and I experienced shortness of breath. My service dog recognized and responded to the symptoms of my disability my nudging and rubbing my leg with his nose. After the first officer left I had to sit down because my entire body was shaking, I was light headed and I felt like my legs were going to give out. As I waited for the second officer my service dog performed several tasks in addition to his work. He performed deep pressure therapy, tactile stimulation, and continued to nudge me if my symptoms took a severe turn. My service dog was successful in alleviating and lessening most symptomology. He was calm and did not cause a disturbance in any way.

When the second officer entered the room I approached him with printed sections of the ADA and read him subtitle a and g of Title II of the ADA. He responded that the visiting rooms are not a place of public accommodation. I responded that under Title II public entities are generally required to modify their policies and procedures to allow a disabled individual with a service dog access ((g) Access to areas of a public entity. Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of a public entity's facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.) he responded again that they (the county jail) are not a public accommodation and the visiting services are a privilege, not a service. I asked if they are then refusing me access on the basis that I use a service dog. He replied they are not denying me access, but are denying my service dog. I replied that service dogs do not have access rights, their disabled handlers do, but he didn't seem to comprehend this. I stated that he was then denying me access on the basis that I use a service dog, and informed him that what he was doing is discrimination based on my disability. He denied this. I asked him to sign a letter that acknowledged that he was denying me access with my service dog based on Whitman County Jail's policy regarding service animals, and that he has read or been trained to understand the relevant chapters of the ADA regarding service animals. He refused. My boyfriend, who had been recording the conversation asked the officer his name, the officer asked if my boyfriend had informed him he was recording, he had not. The officer then left.

During the conversation with the second officer my disability continued to be more and more severely aggravated until I was very noticeably shaking and very ill. I dropped my folder and noticeably stuttered many times while talking to the second officer. My service dog recognized and continued to respond to the symptoms during the conversation.

After the conversation my boyfriend walked me to the front counter where I waited to give the jail more information about service dogs. My entire body was shaking, my vision was blurred, and I felt like my legs couldn't support me. I had hold onto the counter for support. When an officer came over (I believe it was the first officer I talked earlier) I gave him the information and informed him I would be contacting the Department of Justice. I then left to sit in the car with my service dog so he could assist me to mitigate the symptoms of my disability, which he did. My friends were allowed to visit our friend, but I was not because I can not be separated from my service dog especially in such a triggering environment.
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 14, '13 6:48pm PST 
Wow sorry you had to go through that. Glad Link could help you to calm down form it. I can simathise with you it is one reason I am thinking I wont be able to go see my son. I was waiting to see how your situation would go so I know now I wold have had trouble with it. Since he is in a Prison.
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Gidget

Wherever mom is,- there I will be- also.
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 4:22am PST 
I'm so sorry you had to experience such stress. As you move through this process, remember that the ADA doesn't say that people with disabilities must be accommodated with service dogs. It says there must be reasonable accommodations. The jail will have a strong case in saying that allowing a service dog into the jail for visiting is unreasonable. Perhaps you will win, but perhaps not. Most importantly, I hope you don't suffer lasting ill effects from this kind of shake up.
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Link

Hero of Hyrule
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 12:15pm PST 
Dogster isn't allowing me to post my original message because there are not appropriate words (there aren't?). County jails are required to make the services and programs they offer accessible to those with disabilities, including service dog handlers.


I asked for them to mail me a complaint form, and I am waiting calls back from the county's human resource office as well as the Sheriff who apparently wants to talk to me about "admitting" my service dog.
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Link

Hero of Hyrule
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 12:18pm PST 
That information was given to me by contacting the Department of Justice's ADA information line.

They also allow guide dogs in, so that is discrimination based on my disability plain and simple. If they can accommodate a typical guide breed which are bigger than my SD, they can accommodate Link, who was quiet, well behaved, and not causing a disturbance in any way.
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Ginger DSA- ThD TT CGC - &hearts

My Angel
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 2:52pm PST 
So you called them beforehand and they said it was fine but then when you went they denied you access?

Were/are you able to talk to the person you had previously spoken to on the phone for an explanation?
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Link

Hero of Hyrule
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 3:12pm PST 
No I don't think they were on duty. I think the department is just very confused and ignorant of laws applicable to service dogs, this isn't the first time I've had problems with them. The last time their ignorance resulted in the washing out of a previous service dog. Luckily I had Link and he had matured or I would be without a service dog, even though state law would have put the cost of a new SD or training at the feet of my ex husband and his mother.
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 6:26pm PST 
I don't want to agree with Gidget, but I guess I have to. It is hard to really face the fact that the correctional facilitie would be that way. Not many police are up on that thing anyway let alone wardens and jail police people. It is a shame but that is how it is. I think it would do some of the people good to see a dog or animal in there as long as it was not cause of animal abuse that they are in there. That could be another reason they are trying to protect us too that use SDs. I am neutral about this subject even having some one dear to me in jail, as I said I am not embarrest to say my son is in Jail. He is not in there for something evil like animal abuse, but he is there cause of his mental illness the fact that he was not medicated. I am free enough to say that much about it. Just the same though I am not able to see him cause I can not drive and if I could get a ride like links handler I could not really safely go in cause of my Illness that cause the same kind of anxiety.
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Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 6:47pm PST 
While you pursue this access issue, remember that your health is important, too. Very important.
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Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 6:59pm PST 
I agree with Iris you do need to make sure you take in to account of your health and etc.
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